I knew as soon as Said and Ali greeted us at the Marrakech train station that this was going to be one of the best trips of my life. I was with nine friends I had shared the past five months experiencing Morocco with. We decided that the most appropriate way to say goodbye to the country we had grown so attached to was from the Sahara Desert. This region of Morocco was unlike any other part we had gotten yet to explore and we knew we could not leave the Maghrib without doing so.
Felicity had been enormously helpful from the very beginning stages, which started about three months before our trip. (PS – all of the girls in AMIDEAST agreed that we would love nothing more than to be as beautiful and elegant as you one day). She provided us with a detailed itinerary of our five-day trip but words are not enough to describe the wonderment that awaited us.
I believe Nick described it best when he said, “Holy ****, we just saw like ten different landscapes in the matter of two hours”. Even though we spent most of the first day and a half in 4 by 4s, it was the best car ride we ever had. Said and Ali stopped at stunning scenic points, at delightful restaurants, at a small truck stop to pick up a watermelon for us to enjoy at our next stop (we adopted watermelon as our Desert Majesty baby). Said and Ali were incredible. One of the highlights of my trip was our last night, sitting under the stars in the open terrace of the Desert Majesty apartments, listening to Said’s stories of his childhood and him giving us traditional Bedouin names; (I am Gala, Louisa was Mehjooba, etc.). In return, we dubbed Said ‘Eli’ short of Elijah.
Obviously, our desert trip would not have been complete without….camels! Khtaar and Bkaar (spelling?) led the ten of us out to the dunes. Unfortunately, the clouds blocked out the sunset but the night to follow more than made up for it. The boys from the bivouac delighted everyone staying the night with traditional music, powerful drums, and enthusiastic (and sometimes humorous) dancing. The night ended with Kaitlin Juj and I stargazing in the very middle of our campsite. I saw my very first shooting star…..and within the next half hour, also saw my second, third, fourth and fifth. I literally felt as if I was being hugged by stars. We were lying flat on our backs and every angle we turned, stars, stars, stars. No IMAX film holds a candle to the Saharan stars.
However, it was not the stars, nor the dunes, nor the landscapes, nor the food ……it was the staff of Desert Majesty and the people we encountered over the five days that took our trip to the next level – to the level of unforgettability.
Iram Sadaf Padder
Class of 2011
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
The George Washington University